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Australian tourism hopes to get a boost in arrivals following actor Chris Hemsworth’s recent trip to Shanghai on the “Avengers: Endgame” press tour. Hemsworth’s popularity in China (he has more than 450,000 followers on Weibo) along with the release of the film in mainland China on April 24 could give tourism a boost following a year of slowing growth. The movie set a record with 1 million tickets sold in the first six hours of availability.

Hemsworth, who plays the Marvel character Thor in the movies, became the global ambassador for Tourism Australia in 2016. While in Shanghai, the actor, along with Vogue China editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung shared their favorite experiences about Australia during a session attended by local media and key opinion leaders (KOLs). Cheung was recently appointed as a “Friend of Australia,” a program from Tourism Australia that hopes to benefit from the support of globally influential people.

Hemsworth said during the event, “Tourism Australia recently launched the ‘Too Australian for Words’ campaign here in China, and, as an Australian, I am constantly discovering new and unexpected experiences in Australia.” The Hollywood actor talked about his recent holiday that included Perth and the Quobba Coast, where he and his family spent a week. He also mentioned a visit to Rottnest Island for snorkeling and swimming while also admiring the local wildlife.

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(From Left) Andrew Hogg, Regional General Manager, North Asia, Tourism Australia, Angelica Cheung, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue China and Friend of Australia, Chris Hemsworth, Global Ambassador for Tourism Australia. Courtesy Photo

“We are so excited to have Chris here today to share with Chinese travelers his recent trips around Australia and his favorite little-known holiday spots in Australia as a local,” Andrew Hogg, Regional General Manager of North Asia at Tourism Australia, told media.

“It is an immense honor to be a Friend of Australia,” Cheung told the audience. “I am always excited and willing to showcase the best of Australia to Chinese audiences.” Both Hemsworth and Cheung also shared their common affinity for Australian cuisine and wines, which included Hemsworth’s description of the true ‘Australian style’ brunch — simple, fresh, and casual.

Last year, Australia welcomed 1.3 million Chinese tourists, an increase of 5 percent from the previous year and only slightly fewer than visitors from top source market New Zealand. Chinese tourists also spent $8.3 billion (AUD 11.7 billion) in Australia during the year, up 13 percent from 2017. Chinese tourists are by far the biggest spenders in Australia — the second biggest spenders are Americans who spent only $2.69 billion (AUD 3.8 billion) last year. Despite the number of arrivals, Tourism Research Australia noted that the growth rate has slowed.

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